Arizona’s chapter of Becoming an Outdoors Woman September Camp is about learning new skills and developing your confidence in yourself. If you are thinking about attending a future camp, you will have an amazing time. Here is an overview of my experience on day 1.
The camp emailed out a list of campers that were interested in carpooling. The list had what city they lived in and contact information. I located 3 women that lived near me and we decided to carpool for the drive from Phoenix, Arizona to Prescott, Arizona. Carpooling was a wonderful way to get to know the women that would be attending camp. I recommend carpooling.
After about a 4 hour drive we arrived at Friendly Pines Camp where our event would take place. There were Outdoors Woman volunteers directing campers where to park. Then we followed the signs to the registration “Wagon Shed” building. At registration we received a camp t-shirt, our cabin name, a map of cabins and where classes would take place, we also received a name tag with our personal schedules on the back. The personal schedules list was very helpful to remind me when to attend class and when meals would be served.
Once we registered we took our personal items (sleeping bag, clothes, etc) to our cabin. I was assigned the Zuni Cabin. The cabin had 5 sets of bunk beds, a water closet (aka toilet room), a sink, and a shower. We chose which bunk we wanted. No one wanted the top bunks, so we used them as our dressers to lay out our clothes.
Next, we headed over to the “Quiet Place” for the Welcome and Group Photo. The volunteers asked everyone to wear their camp shirt for the photo. The Welcome included an introduction of the volunteers who would be overseeing the weekend. The volunteers went over alcohol rules and a few updates on classes. Then they sent us on our way to lunch. Lunch was buffet style. There were many picnic tables to sit at. You got to choose where you sat.
My first session was Horsemanship. It was an introductory/refresher class on horses teaching the basics of horse behavior and care. We learned the terms currying (grooming), tacking up and untacking. Each rider wore a certified helmet (provided) and wore riding boots that we brought from home. We each prepared and saddled our assigned horses. I had the pleasure of riding Doc on an approximately hour-long ride through the forest. After the ride, we untacked and brushed our horses.
The next activity was game tasting. Volunteers teaching at the camp brought in the following foods for us to taste and a few of the afternoon cooking classes brought in the food they prepared. The foods included assorted sausages from the sausage making class, black bear, chukar partridge, crayfish from the crayfish catching and cleaning class, Coues deer, dove wrapped in bacon, elk, javelina and prickly pear fruit punch. I tasted each game and prickly pear punch and enjoyed them all.
After dinner, I attended the Roman Orona event. Roman Orona is an Arizona Native American who gave a presentation about his heritage. He, his mother and son performed dances inspired by their native dances. He shared cultural stories with us. In the end, we all got a chance to dance to his live music.
The last event of the day that I chose to attend was night fishing at the Friendly Pines Pond. At the pond, the night fishing volunteers taught us about different types of tackle, how to put it on the lines and different types of bait. Then we each took our assigned poles and found a spot around the lake and fished. One lady caught a big mouth bass next to me. Since it was dark and we were using flashlights, it appeared to be way over 12 inches long. This event was catch and release, so we learned how to introduce the fish back into the water.
A short while later, I had a tug on my line and I thought that I had gotten tangled up with another fisher’s line because this had happened many times before. As I was reeling in the line, I noticed that no one else was shouting that we were hooked together. So, I hollered “fish on” and mentally crossed my fingers that I was not pulling in a log. Sure enough, with the help of the fishing volunteers, we brought in a 3-5 lbs catfish! It was an exhilarating experience because the fish was very strong. Then we released the fish back into the pond. Only those 2 fish were caught that night.
After night fishing I headed back to my cabin, got ready for bed, and passed out from exhaustion from a full day of learning and laughing.
Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) in Arizona September Camp Day 1
Have you attended a Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW)? If yes, what state did you attend? If not, what state would you want to attend a BOW camp in (they are all over the US)?